One of my biggest concerns during my pregnancy was how the early days postpartum would go in regards to Genevieve. How would she handle the transition from only to big sister, especially when I couldn’t be there in the normal ways because I would be recovering and tending to a newborn. We are now seventeen days into life as a family of four and I am amazed at how well it’s going. It has it’s hard moments, especially when I’m home alone and they are both needing my attention but it’s been far easier than I had expected.
One of the biggest things, that has made life a bit easier than it could have been is that Genevieve loves her little brother. From the moment he came out she has been excited about him. Wanting to hold him, to look at him, touch him, and especially kiss him. This boy gets twenty-plus kisses everyday from his sister. Our biggest sibling issue so far is that Genevieve doesn’t yet understand that he is too little to share toys with and sometimes forcefully piles toys on him in an effort to play. She is eager to have him join her during play time and I can only imagine the fun they will have in the coming months and years.
Another big thing has been how easy my labor and recovery was compared to last time. With a four and a half hour labor, I was left with lots of energy unlike my 30+ hour labor with Genevieve. I still have some stitches and soreness but it’s completely different than the postpartum period with Genevieve. After having such a difficult recovery last time I had help in place the first two weeks to give my body the best chance of healing possible. My mom took work off for the first with and focused on Genevieve. It was important to me that Genevieve wasn’t sent away at any point because I wanted her to adjust to life with her brother as soon as possible and it worked really well for us. She had my mom to take her outside and play with but she was able to spend lots of time watching and interacting with us. Once my mom went back to work, my sister-in-law started coming over in the afternoons after Genevieves second nap to take her outside and let her run off some energy. The love and help we’ve received has made a huge difference in allowing me to rest up and heal as quickly as possible.
Another thing that I think has contributed to my feeling so good is that I’m loosely following a Taiwanese postpartum tradition in that the new mother doesn’t leave the house or go outside for the first 30 days. As I understand it, it’s supposed to force the mother to rest and heal. I thought I would go a little stir crazy but at this point I’m loving not having the pressure of having to leave the house. Kevin has been willing to do all the grocery shopping and errand running and with my sister-in-law coming over for a few hours each day, I’m able to really commit to the full 30 days of house rest, except that I do go to my postpartum checkups. I am grateful for the opportunity to rest to this degree and I may not have this luxury next time I have a baby so I am trying to take advantage of it while I can.
Other happenings so far…
Tandem nursing, for the most part went off without a hitch. One thing that really helps is that Genevieve isn’t terribly interested in nursing at the same time as Lazarus, and is usually happy to wait until he’s done to get her turn. We only truly tandem about once a day if Genevieves nap time nurse conflicts with Lazarus’s meal time. We’re still working on finding good positions for when they are both nursing and keeping Genevieves affectionate little hands off Lazarus while he’s actively eating has been a bit tricky but overall it’s been a good weapon to have in my mommy pocket when things get a little chaotic.
Babywearing, even the limited amount I’m doing during this recovery period has been a huge help, as I expected it to be. I thought I would be wearing Lazarus all the time but he’s such a calm sleepy baby that I’ve worn Genevieve significantly more so far. If Lazarus is sleeping and Genevieve needs some one-on-one snuggle time I’ll throw her up in the wrap and bounce on the exercise ball till she either fall asleep or gets her fill. It’s enabled me to keep Genevieves nap schedule somewhat consistent because I can put her on my back and walk her to sleep while nursing Lazarus or making dinner etc… I know I will use the wrap more in the coming weeks and months as we begin to venture outside more.
Overall, the transition from one to two has gone easier than I expected and I’m loving my new family of four. Life is so good.